W211 E Class estate. My wheel has literally fallen off.

kdh

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I swapped all the my wheels over today for Summers, tightened all lug bolts up, set off with wife, son, elderly mother and dog for a walk.

Ten minutes later I heard a grinding type noise from offside rear followed by a slight wobble.

I stopped the car a found that the locking wheel nut was not completely tight, so tightened it and checked all the others whilst I was at it.

Set off again and two minutes down the road the car made a terrible noise followed by a wobble and lurched into the side of a grassy bank.

The wheel had come completely off the hub and all the wheel nuts were on the road.

An hour later, I managed to get the car jacked up using four big trolley jacks and put the wheel back on. Three of us used all our brute strength to tighten the wheel bolts and we set off.

Five minutes later at a max of 15mph, the wheel had come off the hub, with the wheel bolts in the road.

Anyone know what on earth is going on?? I have had lots of cars in my 60 years and changed countless of wheels. I'm scared to even go near my E Class again as it's a daily driver to my son's school 50 miles away.

How can bolts come off a wheel like this?

Any ideas anyone? Thanks.
 

stewslash

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the only thing i can think of is that your "summer" wheels have a different lug profile than your winter wheels thus needing different nuts/bolts ?
 
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kdh

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Thanks for the reply but no. Had the Summers on all last year, same wheel bolts.

I've read somewhere it could be a wheel hub/brake rotor ?
 
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stewslash

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Your wheel bolts screw through the brake rotor / discs and thread into the wheel hub , it could be stripped thread on either the hub or the bolts
 

brucemillar

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How many turns of the lug (full turns) do you get before they go tight? You need at least 4.5 turns of thread. When the lugs are tight and the wheel is off the ground, is there any play in the wheel/hub.

What you describe is typical of using steel/spare wheel lugs on an alloy wheel or vice versa. To have 5 lugs all undo themselves does not compute unless something is drastically wrong in a very simplistic way (no offense intended)
 
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kdh

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You're right, it doesn't compute at all and no office taken.

I've just taken a lug out and it's approx 3.5 turns before it goes tight. There is no play at all when the wheel is off the ground from the hub.

I've had these lugs and wheels on the car for 5 Summers now, never any problem.

Should these lugs be torqued up? Even when a builder who helped me today tighten them up, they still came off ten minutes later down the road.
 

brucemillar

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kdh said:
You're right, it doesn't compute at all and no office taken. I've just taken a lug out and it's approx 3.5 turns before it goes tight. There is no play at all when the wheel is off the ground from the hub. I've had these lugs and wheels on the car for 5 Summers now, never any problem. Should these lugs be torqued up? Even when a builder who helped me today tighten them up, they still came off ten minutes later down the road.

Warning: I am not the expert and do get things wrong.

I understood that 4 > 4.5 turns is the minimum thread you should have. Any more and the rears will hit the handbrake shoes.

A torque wrench would be correct to avoid over or under tightening. But a solid heave should suffice. I wonder if your threads have stretched due to a previous over tighten?

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kdh

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I wonder if your threads have stretched due to a previous over tighten?

I took the car to the garage last week for a check over and it was all fine. However when I tried to take the rear wheel off I had to jump on wheel brace to release the lugs, they were that tight. I've never heard of threads being stretched though.

Appreciate your replies, thanks again.
 

saff

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Do you know if the garage had the wheel in question or any other for that matter off during the check over?

I have had wheel nuts done up stupidly tight by garages on several occasions.
 

brucemillar

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The lugs are designed to fail before the hub in the event the they are cross threaded or over tightened. It is not uncommon for 'garages' to tighten these to stupid levels, meaning you would not get them off at the side of the road. I cannot think of any other reason for what you describe. Fitting the old wheel would be a test, but not without risk.

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kdh

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Do you know if the garage had the wheel in question or any other for that matter off during the check over?

I have had wheel nuts done up stupidly tight by garages on several occasions.

Yes I'm guessing the garage did them really tightly as I struggled to get them off. Would this really cause the wheel to keep falling off the car do you think?

Not sure what to do next. Managed to get it home and the garage is 10 mins up the road.
 

saff

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As brucemillar said the lugs are designed to fail before the hub so I guess I would be buying at least 5 new lugs before I took the car any distance.

If the other wheels have had similar treatment then you may be looking at a complete new set. I would be contacting the garage in question regarding the cost of these.

I can't imagine any other reason for this problem but its obviously a safety issue and needs sorting.

Good luck!
 

a111r

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Most odd.
Having the same car, extreme effort would be needed for either all five hub threads or wheel bolts to have stripped.

Occam's Razor principle here ... I'd double check that "somehow" the wrong bolts (undersized thread or pitch ) haven't been used by mistake.
 

KennyN

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I understood that 4 > 4.5 turns is the minimum thread you should have. Any more and the rears will hit the handbrake shoes.

I have just fitted new rear wheels to the W219 and i have 14 full turns on the new bolts , there is 22mm of 1.5mm pitch thread protruding from the wheel and there are no issues with them contacting the handbrake shoes.

Kenny
 

Bobby Dazzler

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No idea what's causing it, but try removing bolts from other "good" wheels and compare with the those in the "bad" wheel to see if they're identical in size/patch, and also check for visible damage to the thread. Then compare how many turns are required for refitting.
 

saff

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I'm no expert but I can't remember ever having a wheel bolt with as few as 3.5-4.5 turns from start to finish. Never actually counted but always a 'winding' period between catching the thread and torquing down tight way in excess of that number. Unless I'm sadly mistaken.

a11r may well be right about wrong bolts being used. Simple check, remove one from another wheel and compare.
 

Peter103

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Threads can and do stretch with overuse and over tightening, if when screwed in a few turns the bolt doesn't feel firm , with very little up and down movement , if it still feels loose to wobble, then replace them , studs bolts and set screws have parallel threads and should feel firm,.
 

roastbeef

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May be worth checking the bolt holes on the wheel that keeps falling off check to see if they are oval or not uniformly round this would work a wheel loose
 

brucemillar

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Gentlemen

My reference to 4 > 4.4 turns of thread being required refers to the minimum amount of turns from the lug entering the hub to it exiting the hub. IT is NOT scientific and was not intended to be used as a Vernier Gauge measurement ;^)

If there are less the 4 turns in the either lug or the hub thread? I would suspect that this is the issue.

Occam's Razor, tells me it has to be either the lug or the hub that is at fault. That then tells me, the previous fitting and re-fitting may be the BIG clue, to what caused the fault. = Either the lug threads are stretched (they are designed to do so) or, the hub threads are damaged by clumsy fitting of the lugs.

I am ruling the out an incorrect wheel for the lug length, as the OP says he has looked at that and used these wheels with these lugs previously with no issue.

I am not there so cannot say, merely speculate on what the OP has written. I would love to hear the outcome, whatever that may be?
 
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